Junior and I are taking a quick trip to my old Kentucky home and last night we bopped down to Mammoth Cave for the coolest evening tour by lantern light. Living in New Mexico, we had visited the amazing Carlsbad Caverns with its eerie formations (and Disneyland-esque lines, international visitors with cameras, and, I kid you not, underground gift shop). But Mammoth Cave (named for its size, not big beast bones...) is a dry cave with, as our guide put it, a good roof, so there are fewer formations. It's kind of like being in a really huge unfinished basement.
We hiked in with 40 people and 10 lanterns, tiptoeing at first, and chatting excitedly. I could hardly contain myself. You can have San Francisco, give me a mother of a cave. Not to mention the temperature was cool enough that you could exert your fat self and not even sweat. Speaking only for myself of course. And with Junior, you never know what will entertain him -- but he has fallen in love with Kentucky.
The night before we had walked my old neighborhood where I was reunited with (and he was awestruck by) fireflies in the grass, towering oaks, gracious maples, peeling-bark cedars, crabapples and dogwoods. The neighbors I've long forgotten -- I couldn't even remember for sure where my old boyfriend's house was. But the leaves reached out like the hands of old friends.
The evening before we had hiked my sister's river preserve with her big dog (not her preserve, just the one she contracts to assess as an environmental biologist), where we brushed angelica taller than a basketball player, grasses and wildflowers she had seeded the year before. We tiptoed down to the river to throw a stick or two, and Junior declared he wanted to live there. On the way back, the great blue heron we'd spotted on the way down raised up, circled the meadow, and flew out of sight between high trees.
Sigh. I do need to apologize to old friends and new for not arranging a get together. You understand why. Thank you 8-) Next time, I promise.